Be Prepared to Sell: Are you ready to listen?

Good ListeningI recently attended a major tradeshow in Las Vegas, which in terms of potential return on our investment in the show, was probably one of the best I have ever attended. Many tradeshows are attended by the same people, who are there to see what is new, stay abreast of current market trends and do some old fashioned, face-to-face networking.

So, what made this show different?

First, people were there to buy. Often, these shows’ attendees are the representatives from the user groups of the equipment that is on display, seeking, “What new development can generate a better product? Provide more reliability? Enable a repackaging to capture a new market segment?” Those representatives were at this show, but this time, they came with their counterparts from purchasing. There is typically only one reason that purchasing folks are going to come to these shows – to buy.

Second, there was a certain sense of commitment to business there. Little was taken for granted, with essentially no complacency about business. Yes, there were dinners after the show, but there were no stories about after dinner events and receptions. People were back at work the next day, focused on building sales, creating growth for their companies, and interestingly, forging alliances. And it’s this last one that has me thinking.

There was much discussion about collaboration and cooperation between various firms working for a specific client – more than I have seen at past shows. It was as if there was an acknowledgement that we have all just been through a pretty difficult time, and while we never want to go through that again, history tells us it is inevitably going to happen – so let’s work together now to make something great. 

The key take away? Be prepared. You never know where your next lead will come from, or where it will take you. 

Selling is about making yourself valuable to others so they will want to invest their time in you. That investment doesn’t get made without the element of trust, and trust begins by being prepared to listen and truly understand what others need. Earn the trust of those you want to work with by being prepared to listen.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Stephen R. Covey

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